Remember that Proclaimers song? I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more? That’s what Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) does in this movie. Strayed doesn’t cope well with the sudden loss of her mother and pretty much makes a complete mess of her life. There’s some drug abuse. There are anonymous sex partners. Both of which don’t sit well with her husband, who consequently leaves her.
In an effort to find herself again, she takes on the Pacific Crest Trail. A trail which is already quite the challenge for the experienced hiker, let alone for someone without any experience. It’s not going to be easy, that much is made clear right in the opening scene where we see Witherspoon taking a look at her bloodied feet before unleashing a torrent of obscenities.
Wild is an adaptation of an Oprah Book-Of-The-Month Club Selection about a woman’s journey towards self-actualization. Had I known this beforehand, chances are slim I would have watched Wild. Which would have been my loss, because I would have missed out on a gripping movie.
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and written for the screen by Nick Hornsby, Witherspoon is in good hands here. Hornsby has trimmed the story down to its bare essentials, while Vallée and cinematographer Yves Belanger know how to make things look good. But most of all it’s Witherspoon who carries not only her heavy-as-fuck backpack, but also the entire movie on her shoulders and delivers a stellar performance in the process.